Giles in the library

Little Helpers

by Maureen Wynn
Copyright © 1997

Standard disclaimers apply: I don't own Buffy or any of her pals, The God Joss and the WB do.

Giles was staring at the empty plate in his hand when Buffy entered the library that morning. "Morning, Giles," she said brightly, in much too good of a mood, considering how early in the day it was. "Giles? Earth to Giles..." Somebody's out of it today! she thought, nudging the oblivious librarian on the shoulder to get his attention.

"Um, oh... what?" he finally said, looking up from the plate, which was still most decidedly empty.

"What planet are you orbiting today?" Buffy teased.

"Oh, ah... ha, yes, most amusing," Giles replied, snapping out of his distraction, and placing the plate on his desk almost gingerly, he turned to the young Slayer bouncing in his office. "You're here rather early today, aren't you?"

"Mom needed to drop me off early, 'cause she had to run some errands before she opened up the gallery. But that's okay, I'm gonna meet up with Will in the computer lab, and we can hang until it's time for class..." Buffy stopped bibbling at Giles, because it was obvious he wasn't paying attention. He'd picked up a cookie tin from his desk and opened it up, and was now standing still, staring into it. Buffy stood on tip-toe to look inside the tin — it was empty. Giles is into empty things today, Buffy thought. "I can see you're, uh, busy, so I'll see you later, 'kay? I'll be by after classes to do the mash and bash thing."

"Oh, yes, certainly, mash and bash..." Giles murmured distractedly, still gazing into the empty cookie tin. The tightly sealed, yet definitely empty tin. He carefully closed the lid and placed the tin back on the very neat and tidy desk. He was going to have to find out exactly what was going on, Giles thought, as he ruffled his hand over the cards in the card catalog drawer sitting on the desk.

Giles turned off the library lights, and stood by the door, looking around the empty library. He nodded, then took out his keys, and locked the library doors. Leaving the lights turned off, he went into his office and got the supplies he had bought earlier. He filled the plate, and moving back into the main room of the library, he set the plate down on the table, and settled in to wait...

He started awake suddenly. Oh, dear, no, I fell asleep... Giles froze suddenly as he was raising his head from the library table. There it was, not a foot from his nose. Perfectly proportioned, beautiful in its own way, dressed with greenish-brownish... stuff. And no more than six inches tall. A Brownie.

It cocked his head, looking at him quizzically, then spoke. A tiny voice, to match its body, but clear and intelligible. "I thank thee for thy gift of food."

"Oh, uh, you—you're welcome," Giles stammered, not quite sure what the etiquette was for gifting a faery.

"It not be necessary, but it was a kindness," the Brownie continued. Was that... amusement in it's (his? her? best not to assume — I'd better avoid all use of personal pronouns, Giles decided) voice?

"Not, um, not necessary?" Giles questioned.

"That be part of the myth. Thy sort always get things muddled," the Brownie answered, sitting down on the table next to the empty plate. "We manage quite well without thy bribes, but the pleasure of a freely given gift is always appreciated."

It was definitely amusement. Giles imagined he must look quite the fool, gaping in astonishment at the little creature. After all, I've seen much stranger things. Why should a faery be such a surprise? "The myth — yes, well, that's pretty much all the, um, information we have on... um, your... sort. Myths, and stories, and fairy tales..." he trailed off, as the Brownie's face had darkened at the word 'fairy'.

"I not be a Faery!"

"No, no, of course not," Giles hastened to assure the tiny mythical being. "You're a, well, um, a... Brownie?" he finished, not quite sure what the reaction would be.

"Aye, that's right, a Brownie, of the wood-folk." The wee being's face cleared. "You'd do well to stay well away from Faeries. They's not to be trusted; rash, impulsive creatures that they be."

"And you're here to... help me?" Giles asked, steering the conversation back on track, and remembering the perfectly alphabetized card catalog cards, but still unsure how much of myth and old stories was true, and how much was human "muddle."

"Aye, it be my pleasure to aid thee."

"Why? I mean, I appreciate the help, and I'm more than happy to provide you with food — not that you need to be bribed—" he hastened to assure the touchy being, "but why would you want to help me? Surely your help would be better concentrated on Buffy... you do know about Buffy...?"

"Aye, Watcher, I know thy Slayer. She be a fine gel, and no doubt could use more help, although she be having a variety of helpers already." The creature smiled suddenly, although the smile seemed more predatory than amused, and added, "Although some of her Slayerettes are unorthodox, and quite without precedent among her line."

Giles blinked, realizing it knew Angel, and knew what he was. He blinked again, realizing the Brownie's use of language had taken a sudden leap into 20th century idiom. "Slayerettes? You know that word, do you?"

"Aye... yes, I can converse in whatever language is necessary for the moment. But old habits die hard, especially among my kind. And, I suspect, among thine." The twinkle of amusement was back, and Giles relaxed, realizing that this being of myth and mystery was enjoying conversing with him.

"So, you know about the 'Slayerettes', do you? But you don't feel the need to help them?"

The little thing shrugged, a motion that looked queerly human on it, and said, "It not be necessary. They have their own help — it not be for the likes of me to be toting stakes and (shuddering delicately) blessed water." It twinkled up at Giles, and added, "I prefer to aid my own kind."

Giles had a sudden moment of panic. I can't possibly be descended from Brownies — it's just not possible! "How do you mean, your own kind?" he asked, almost afraid of the answer.

"We be Watchers, you and I. You watch your Slayer-girl, I watch human-kind. We observe, we help, we do what we can, safe and snug behind wood," it said, gazing approvingly at the wood-paneled walls of the library.

Giles sighed an internal sigh of relief. Thank goodness for small blessings! And then he smiled at the Brownie, thinking of small blessings, and settled in for a nice long chat with his new library assistant.

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